The Head Octopi are the leaders of the Octopus Club. They serve in teams of two for one 2-year term. There are two teams of two serving overlapping two year terms, so that at any given time there are four Head Octopi, two in their first year and two in their second year. A Head Octopus is a volunteer like you who steps forward to lead our effort for a period of time. That is it. There is no Board of Directors, no paid staff, no office, no nothing except a resolve to raise as much money as we can to offer emergency assistance to our neighbors living with HIV and AIDS. AND to keep doing so as the need persists.

Lew Aldridge, The Founder.

Email: laldridge@alori.net, Phone: 512-293-1250

Lew Aldridge, founded The Octopus Club in the late 80's while volunteering at AIDS Services of Austin. At that time, persons with AIDS got sick and died quickly. Often, there was no work or family support for these individuals. Lew recognized this and created the organization that addressed emergency service. As founder of The Octopus Club and supporter of many other non-profits, Lew has changed the landscape of fundraising in Austin, Texas.


The 2009-2010 Head Octopus Club Leaders

Mark Fisette

Email: mfisette@yahoo.com, Phone: 512-426-1556

I have been involved with Octopus Club for over 3 years. I have also been involved with Hill Country Ride for AIDS for about 5 years. Having lost my brother to AIDS, I am grateful for what the Octopus Club does to assist those that are battling AIDS. Although my brother was in California, his advice to me was "help wherever you are." Good advice from a great guy. Simply doing my part. What I didn't expect was how much fun it would actually be to make a difference in so many lives!

Dale Atkinson

Email: datkinson@txhha.com, Phone: 512-426-1556

I'm Dale Atkinson and I've been involved with the Octopus Club for approximately 3 years. I started as a volunteer at Art Erotica and I was amazed by the incredible things this group can accomplish. I've been involved with AIDS Services of Austin as a volunteer for numerous years chairing VIVA Las Vegas, participating on the AIDS Walk as well as being on the production team for the Hill Country Ride for AIDS for 3 years. I'm not from Texas but hail from the great white North of Canada. I'm a nurse and my view of life is do all you can do and get involved.

The 2010-2011 Head Octopus Club Leaders

Summer McKee

Summer McKee

Like so many, Summer came to Austin to attend the University of Texas and quickly fell in love with the city's vibrant energy and unique culture. A late bloomer, Summer admitted to herself and the world that that she preferred the romantic company of woman and "came out" her senior year of college. Not knowing how to "jump in the pool" as it were, she quickly started volunteering with various groups including the Austin Gay & Lesbian International Film Festival (aGLIFF) where, after a few years of enthusiastic service, she was invited to join the Board of Directors. After a 2 year stint, time constraints forced her to step down, but she never forgot the sense of accomplishment which came from knowing her time and energy were playing a positive role in the community. Constantly looking for other ways to "give back," Summer attended her first OctoTea dance almost a decade ago and was immediately hooked! The workings of The Octopus Club were to remain a mystery, however, until 2008, when, after volunteering with AIDS Services of Austin "Viva Las Vegas" event, she met several members of the Club and was encouraged to be a part of planning the upcoming OctoTea dance. She jumped right in and the rest, as they say, is history still in the making!

Mary Morrison

Mary English Morrison

I’m a 65+ year old grandmother, who was introduced to The Octopus Club in 2007.  Although I’ve worked in the AIDS activism community since 1985, I’ve never encountered an all-volunteer group so committed and determined to improving the lives of people with HIV/AIDS.  Sure, we have a great time doing what we do, but the real satisfaction comes from knowing that we’ve made this difference in the lives of those who are struggling to live.  I don’t know what it’s like to be a person assisted by the Paul Kirby Fund, but I do know what it was like before the days of the Fund, when no resources or benefits were available.  Being asked to serve in this capacity is a great honor that I will treasure for the rest of my life, as well as the friendship of the wonderful Octopi I’ve met along the way. Besides, I have more fun than any other old lady I know!

Honor Roll of Former HOs

Note:  Names of some of those serving as HOs in the early days have been lost.  Any former HO who served, and whose name is not on this list; and help us correct any errors; please let us know at octoteadance@gmail.com, so that the list can be revised. 

Craig Ainsworth 2000-2001  
Grek Aker 1992-1993
Lew Aldridge 1991
Dale Atkinson 2009-2010
Scott Ballew 2006-2007
Marty Bender 2005-2006
Jay Bilig 2002-2003
Mary Black 1991-1992
Paul Bradshaw 2001-2002
Tamara Chauncey 1989
Annette Dominguez 2000-2001
Mark Erwin 2007-2008
Mark Fisette 2009-2010
Frank Garrahan 2003-2004
Susan Ghertner 1989
Elton Goddard 2003-2004
Debbie Grooms 1993-1995
Greg Hand 1997-1998
Arthur Landin 2008-2009
Keno Ledano 1998-1999
Stan May 1996-1997
Linda McCarley 1989
Summer McKee 2010-2011
Michael Mitchell 2001-2002
Mary English Morrison 2010-2011
Snow Montemayor 2004-2005
Tricia Murphy 1991-1992
Michelle Patterson 2007-2008
Robert Perez 2004-2005
Rory Reich 1997-1998
Humberto Rey 1993-1994
Kirk Rice 1996-1997
Sandy Rice 1992-1993
Neely Rogers 2006
Bruce Salzer 1993-1994
Flint Sparks 1989
Rich Segal 2008-2009
Stephen Walls 2001-2002
Tim Young 2006-2007